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UNICO National Announces 2009 Award Winners

FAIRFIELD, N.J., April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- UNICO National, the largest Italian American Service Organization in the United States, is pleased to announce its 2009 Award recipients. The Awardees will be honored at the 87th Annual UNICO National Convention in Lake Las Vegas, NV this July.

Americanism Award:

Grand Order Filippo Mazzei Grand Patriot Award

Alan Krutchkoff, Fairlawn, NJ

Founder of the Adopt a Soldier Platoon

Cianci Humanitarian Award:

Dr. Joseph Scelsa, New York, NY

Dr. Scelsa is the Founding President and CEO of the Italian American Museum in New York City's Little Italy.

Mille Grazie Award:

Joseph Maselli, New Orleans, LA

The prestigious Mille Grazie Award literally means "a thousand thanks" and is given in appreciation to individuals, institutions or companies that have been instrumental in helping to foster the image of Italian Americans through positive programs, as well as confronting the negative, and have shown themselves to be friends of the Italian American community.

Antonio R. Rizzuto Award:

A.J. "Buddy" Fortunato, Little Falls, NJ

Publisher of the Italian Tribune Newspaper, a weekly publication since 1933 that covers everything Italian.

Dr. Anthony P. Vastola Award:

Paul Alongi, Bloomfield, NJ

UNICO's highest award bestowed upon a member of UNICO will be awarded this year to Paul Alongi, who served as the National President of UNICO in 1975 and has been a member of the Bloomfield, NJ Chapter of UNICO for over 50 years. Mr. Alongi has continued to serve the national organization in numerous positions throughout his tenure.

Athletic Awards:

Vincent T. Lombardi Professional Athletics Memorial Award:

Vince Ferragamo, formerly of the LA Rams

Dr. D.M. Nigro Amateur Athletics Memorial Award:

Joe Hathaway of Yale University, Football

Additionally, the UNICO Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity, at its Board of Trustees meeting, provided funding through its Mental Health Program to the following:

  • Johns Hopkins University Alzheimer's Disease Research. A pilot project involving genomic analysis in specific regions of the brain in Alzheimer's disease.
  • Pathways to Independence, Inc. for the support of an employment program.
  • Vantage Healthcare Systems, a life enrichment and achievement program.

Always prepared to step in and provide assistance in a time of need, UNICO Foundation is accepting donations to aid the L'aquila Italy earthquake victims.

UNICO, which means unique or one-of-a-kind in Italian, was founded in Waterbury, CT by Dr. Vastola in 1922. Members work to support charitable, educational, scientific and literary projects while promoting Italian heritage and combating negative stereotyping.

For further information, contact Development Executive Barbara Peirano at 1-800-877-1492 or via e-mail at For additional information, visit our website at

This release was issued through eReleases(TM). For more information, visit

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